Art

Section



Art

Ann Weber Elevates Discarded Cardboard Boxes and Staples to New Heights in Billowing Sculptures

January 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows” (2020), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 101 x 44 x 20 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

Exemplifying the possibilities of combining humble materials with a good dose of resourcefulness, Ann Weber’s monumental sculptures find their beginnings in discarded cardboard boxes. The San Pedro, California-based artist parlayed her training in ceramics into a focus on the everyday material, initially inspired by architect Frank Gehry’s cardboard chairs, which transformed utilitarian, heavyweight paper into structurally sound and visually appealing functional objects. Weber echoed a similar intention when she decided to eliminate the inherently cumbersome process and weight of clay in exchange for a lightweight material that could be scaled up.

The artist scours the neighborhoods of Los Angeles for boxes, paying special attention to those with printed surfaces; she carefully considers the colors of graphics and text and incorporates them into the overall composition of each work. In the studio, she begins by building an armature with larger pieces of cardboard to create the silhouette. She then applies layers of strips cut from other boxes and staples them into place in a repetitive, textured pattern.

While the forms billow, bulge, and tower overhead, the artist doesn’t want to obscure the ubiquitous material; instead, Weber invites the viewer to consider the substance in a way they might not otherwise, saying “cardboard has taken on more complex meaning in the 21st century with the hyper-capitalistic proliferation of excess shipping materials.” Paper accounts for more than a quarter of the waste in landfills globally. “The sculptures can be viewed as a critique of contemporary consumerist culture, but that is not my sole intent,” she continues. “They are instilled with a psychological component neither entirely representational nor abstract, but something in between.”

Weber recently wrapped up a major exhibition at Wönzimer Gallery in Los Angeles. Explore more of her work on Instagram and her website.

 

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You’re My Butterfly” (2012), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 88 x 30 x 20 inches and 88 x 36 x 23 inches. Photo by Sibila Savage

Abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Left: The artist’s studio. Right: “Almost 16 & 15 and 1/2” (2002), found cardboard, staples, polyurethane, and steel base, 182 x 48 x 49 inches and 177 x 38 x 38 inches. Photo by M. Lee Fatherree

A series of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

“Gothic on Grand” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 98 x 166 x 14 inches. Photo by Ray Carafano

An abstract wall sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“Happiest Days of Our Lives” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 96 x 124 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An abstract sculpture on a plinth made out of discarded cardboard.

“Hallelujah” (2016), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 30 x 46 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano   

An abstract sculpture with yellow stripes made out of discarded cardboard.

“Pedro Boogie Woogie” (2019), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 104 x 48 x 28 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An installation view in a gallery space of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Installation view at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco (2012). Photo by Sibila Savage

Ann Weber, artist, standing with a series of abstract, white sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

 

 

advertisement



Art Photography

Watercolor Accentuates the Surreal and Metaphorical Nature of Annalise Neil’s Cyanotypes

January 11, 2023

Grace Ebert

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna

“State Change” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper mounted on wood panel, 10 x 10 x 1.5 inches. All images © Annalise Neil, shared with permission

A “pursuit of the unknown” grounds Annalise Neil’s practice. An enduring curiosity and a desire to find answers shape both her approach to and the form of her works, which layer watercolor accents atop cyanotypes. The pieces depict the unassuming and magnificent, “the tender yet muscular emergence of mushrooms from soil, the brittle and also supple curve of a snail’s shell, the translucent husk of a crinoid on the beach.”

Constructed with hundreds of hand-cut negatives, the composites veil flora and fauna in shades of blue, evoking the color’s ubiquity within the natural world and the mysteries humans have yet to uncover. Lined with yellow or rusty-colored pigments, the works feature familiar subject matter with positions and scale that veer toward the surreal: large hands descend upon an arid desert landscape, birds escape from a trio of shapes that evoke a mushroom cloud, and flowers, butterflies, and dewy spores encircle a central bloom.

These unearthly pairings allow “for a re-thinking of the human’s relationship to reality and our surroundings,” Neil shares, an impulse that also informs her desire to reconsider and better understand change and possibility. “I believe metaphor is the most effective illuminator of new concepts and is an excellent midwife for empathy. One of the most fecund qualities of the human mind is our ability to ask questions, be curious, and make adjustments.”

Neil’s solo show Holobiont is on view through March 30 at Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa, California, where she lives. The artist is currently preparing for a February residency at Playa Summer Lake and will open an exhibition at Sparks Gallery in San Diego this summer. Until then, explore an archive of her cyanotype series on her site and Instagram.

 

Two cyanotype composites of flora and fauna with rust watercolor details

Left: “Recalibration” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper mounted on wood panel, 24 x 18 x 1 inch. Right: “Vivify” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Hahnemuhle Sumi-e paper mounted on wood panel, 7 x 5 x 1 inch

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna and large drops

“San Diego/Sequoia National Forest/Cleveland National Forest: Chandelier Drops, Salp, Velvetleaf Pods, Wood Knot, Son, Sierra Tiger Lily, Corn Lily” (2020), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper mounted on wood panel, 11 x 14 x 1 inch

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna with a red line through the center

“Latitudinal Flow” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper mounted on wood panel, 6 x 6 x 1.5 inches

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna

“Propulsive Molt” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper mounted on wood panel, 10 x 10 x 1.5 inches

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna with chains connecting three bowls

“Ancestral Accretion” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Mohachi Shikishi paper, 11.5 x 9.5 inches

A detail of a cyanotype composite of flora and fauna

Detail of “Dynamic Mutuality” (2021), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper, 8.75 x 16.75 inches

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna with yellow details

“Extremophile Corridors” (2022), watercolor and cyanotype on Hahnemuhle Sumi-e paper mounted on wood panel, 11 x 14 x 1 inches

A cyanotype composite of flora and fauna

“Dynamic Mutuality” (2021), watercolor and cyanotype on Arches Aquarelle paper, 8.75 x 16.75 inches

 

 



Art Design

All of Us Skin Tone Crayons Reflect the Planet’s Diversity with Eight Different Pigments

January 10, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of eight skin-tone crayons

All images © All of Us

How can you accurately draw the human population without an appropriately diverse array of colors? The team at All of Us offers a counter to traditional sets with its skin tone crayons in eight different hues. Made from beeswax and natural pigments, the collection is entirely hand-poured and is available in three shapes: triangles, rounds, and blocks. “I started making crayons in my kitchen because all children deserve to be seen,” All of Us founder Sabine says. “They deserve to have their smiles drawn on paper, in shades true to their identity.”

Pick up a few packs of the crayons in the All of Us shop, and follow the company on Instagram for glimpses into how the tools are made.

 

A photo of eight skin-tone crayons

A photo of eight skin-tone crayons

A photo of skin tone crayons and drawings

A photo of skin tone crayons and drawings

A photo of eight skin tone crayons

 

 



Art Design

Elaborate Towers Emerge from Basic Building Blocks in Raffaele Salvoldi’s Architectonic Installations

January 10, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks in a large room with a man looking up at it.

All images © Raffaele Salvoldi, shared with permission

In January 2021 in the middle of Italy’s second Covid-19 lockdown, photographer and director Raffaele Salvoldi’s work took a different turn. “That was a tough time since I wasn’t working and had a lot of free time. So, I started to build small forms to keep my hands and mind busy,” he tells Colossal, sharing that he tapped into the nostalgic, childhood activity of tinkering and stacking simple wood blocks.

At the base of Salvoldi’s towering, temporary installations is a single component: KAPLA planks. Devised by a Dutch antique dealer in the late 1960s, KAPLA are an alternative to chunkier blocks that make it easier to build long or horizontal features like lintels and roofs. Initially, Salvoldi started with a set of 1,000 of the wooden construction bricks, and as he amassed thousands more, his constructions became increasingly voluminous. Spiraling columns, delicate towers, and airy apertures emerge gradually from a foundation on the floor, and the structures are often illuminated from inside and reveal dramatic effects in cavernous spaces. Each piece responds to its environment, drawing the eye upward to unique settings like the historic, neoclassical Casa Bossi. “The only limit is your imagination and, of course, gravity,” he says.

One of Salvoldi’s installations can take between three weeks and four months to complete, and rather than opening a show with a completed work, viewers are invited to observe as he adds piece after piece over time. “I believe it isn’t just a performance, rather a kind of a window on an artistic process,” he says. “That’s why I like to define it as a living, mobile room or atelier that people can visit and see the installation growing day after day, week after week.” When a show closes and the work must be disassembled, visitors are invited to deconstruct the installation by throwing additional planks at it until it crumbles, or the artist will devise a domino-like path of KAPLA that strikes at the foundations.

In May 2022, Salvoldi founded the project Wood Arc through which he continues his research into architectural and structural forms. Between February 12 and April 2, he will exhibit a new work at the 16th-century Villa Bono, just north of Novara, Italy. Find videos and more of his work on Instagram, and learn more about the project on his website.

 

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks.

A GIF of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks.

Left: A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks. Right: The interior of a tower made from KAPLA blocks.

A photograph of the inside of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks

Two photographs of towers made out of KAPLA blocks

A photograph of two towers made out of KAPLA blocks and an ornate ceiling.

A photograph of an installation made out of KAPLA blocks comprised of an arch and towers.

Two photographs of a tall tower made out of KAPLA blocks, illuminated in the dark.   A photograph of two towers made out of KAPLA blocks in a large, ornate room with a decorated ceiling. The artist stands between the two towers for scale.

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks with an ornate ceiling in the background.

 

 



Art Design

A Wooden Artwork Miraculously Unfurls into a Functional Desk Designed by Robert van Embricqs

January 9, 2023

Grace Ebert

An animated gif of the designer unfolding the desk

All images courtesy of Robert van Embricqs

The surge in remote work during the last few years prompted Amsterdam-based designer Robert van Embricqs to rethink how conventional desks would impact a home’s atmosphere. He wanted to invite “the user to fold that desk away when work is over” and created a now-viral piece that seamlessly transforms from office to artwork.

Constructed with warm wood and brass hinges, the “Flow Wall Desk” features flush vertical slats that twist and unfold into a tabletop. The small piece of furniture, which can support about 40 pounds, is minimal in aesthetic and mimics organic movements as it unfurls from sleek relief to functional space.

Find the desk and other modular designs in van Embricqs’ shop, and follow his work on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

 

A photo of the unfolded desk with a chair

A photo of the flat desk with a chair

A photo of the unfolded desk with a chair

A photo of the unfolded desk with a chair

A detail photo of the unfolded desk with a coffee cup and book

A photo of the designer sitting at the unfolded desk

 

 



Art Illustration

Detailed Illustrations Brim with Manic Mayhem in Mattias Adolfsson’s Exuberant Sketchbooks

January 5, 2023

Kate Mothes

A spread of an illustrated sketchbook.

All images © Mattias Adolfsson, shared with permission

In Mattias Adolfsson’s meticulous illustrations, organized chaos is the name of the game. Drawing inspiration from a recent trip to Japan, the Swedish artist has recently filled his 41st Moleskine notebook with science fiction-inspired scenes of sushi bar mayhem, urban piles, and travel woes. Redolent of Where’s Waldo, Adolfsson often incorporates a caricature of himself into each scene; his face peeks out from advertisements, food, and anthropomorphized objects. His characteristically frenetic drawings fill each spread from edge to edge in a finely-tuned balance of order and insanity, encouraging the viewer on an endless seek-and-find journey that reveals more peculiarities, details, and twists the more one looks.

Explore more of Adolfsson’s fantastical worlds on Behance and YouTube, where he pages through completed sketchbooks. You can also find more work on his website and purchase prints on Etsy.